30 Years
HomeEvents of 1972British Government Policy

In 1967 the British Government became increasingly fearful about the potential consequences of its largesse in granting British Nationality in its colonies in the 1950 and early 1960s. The Labour Government of the time therefore passed an Act of Parliament distinguishing between British passports issued in Britain and those issued abroad in the colonies. Holders of the latter effectively lost their right to enter Britain and this sparked an overnight exodus of Indians from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to Britain before the Bill went into effect. This action by the British Government of barring its own nationals from entering the country, unprecedented in modern legal history, had the effect of marooning thousands of Indians with British Nationality in East Africa. The seeds for a human disaster had been sown.

A timeline through the years, where British Nationality, Race Relations and Immigration Acts changed the course of history for Asians from Uganda.

1938 British Medical Association objects to the number of Jewish doctors arriving in Britain

1945 Second World War ends. The British Government (Labour) attempts to send back wartime workers to it's colonies.
A Substantial flow of immigrants from Ireland

1947 Polish people homeless because of the War and are invited to come to UK

1948 British Nationality Act is passed. It gives citizenship to people from ex-colonies.
Enshrines the right of the Commonwealth citizens to enter the UK, work, settle and bring families.

1949 Royal Commission on Population report, argues that immigrants should be encouraged only if they are of "good human stock"

1950 Private member's bill to outlaw racial discrimination fails to be passed (Labour govt)

1951 Conservatives win election

1954 Law to limit immigration to UK considered but not presented to parliament

1956 Private Member's Bill to outlaw racial discrimination in public places fails to be passed (Conservative govt)

1958 Street violence against black people in Nottingham and Notting Hill

1959 Conservatives win election

1960 Birmingham Immigration Control Association set up (pressure group against immigration)

1961 Campaign for immigration control contributes to large rise in immigration to 'beat the ban'

1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act (Conservative Govt. restricts admission of Commonwealth settlers to those who had been issued with employment vouchers. Entry control established and conviction of an offence within five years of arrival leading to deportation.)

1964 Labour win election. Labour government renews immigration control

1965 White Paper on Immigration from the Commonwealth: Reduction in annual number of entry vouchers to 8500, to be given largely to skilled/professional workers. 1000 of these are given to Malta (Labour govt).
Race Relations Act makes some discrimination unlawful. Establishment of Race Relations Board and National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants.

1966 Labour wins election. First national report on extent of racial discrimination

1967 National Front founded. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is established.

1968 London passes the Commonwealth Immigration Act which restricts entry into the U.K. to only those British passport holders who can conclusively prove a 'continuing relationship' with Britain. This stipulation means that either of the parents or one of the grand parents of a person aspiring for free entry into Britain must have been born in Britain. Obviously, such a condition cannot be satisfied by most of the persons of Indian origin in Kenya, and later in Uganda.

1969 Major survey of British race relations is published.

1970 Conservatives win election

1971 New immigration Act replaces acts of 1962 and 1968, moving away from work vouchers scheme and this tightens controls. Home Office sets up its own race relations research unit, and establishes "partiality" grandfather clause. This virtually ends all primary immigration.

1972 A serious crisis erupts in Uganda when Idi Amin ousts President Milton Obote after a military coup. On 9th August 1972, he announces the issue of a decree expelling, within 90 days, all persons of Asian origin who are citizens of the U.K., India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Ten days later, he decrees that even Ugandan citizens of Asian origin are to be expelled. In this year approximately 27,000 Asians are admitted to UK.

1974 Labour win election
Second national report on extent of racial discrimination and disadvantage

1976 New Race Relations Act - Commission for Racial Equality established.
Rise in support for National Front in May elections, but no seats won.
Notting Hill carnival involves clashes between young blacks and the police.

1978 Conservatives propose tougher immigration legislation.

1979 Conservatives win election.
National Front fragments after disastrous election results

1981 British Nationality Act passed. Creates three categories of citizenship: British Citizenship; Citizenship of British Dependent Territories; British Overseas Citizenship.

1983 Conservatives win election

1986 Visa controls imposed on visitors from India, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Second Home Office report on racial attacks.
Immigration Act, controls tightened

1987 Conservatives win election.
Four Black/Asian Labour MPs

1988 Immigration Act, controls tightened

1989 Government (Conservative) grants citizenship to 225,000 people from Hong Kong, mostly Chinese.

1990 British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act, limits numbers that can come to UK.

1992 Conservatives win election.
6 Ethnic minority MP's elected, black Conservative candidate loses at Cheltenham
First Asian judge appointed.

1997 European Year Against Racism. Labour wins election

1998 Human Rights Act 1998 is passed

1999 Several police forces acknowledge existence of institutionalised racism
Targets set for ethnic minority recruitment in most public services
Growth of asylum seekers from eastern Europe, increases controls. Immigration and Asylum Act passed
The National Asylum Support Service set up by Home office

2000 Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 provides general duties on public bodies

2001 Labour wins election. Riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford
Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Bill passed which includes streamlining immigration procedures.

2002 Blunkett ends passports injustice, 34 years on - British citizens who were left stateless when the 1968 Labour government closed the door on the entry of east African Asians are finally to be given the opportunity to take up full British citizenship. (Read the Article)